Prisoners movie poster

Grueling, downbeat, and ultimately indulgent thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, the former a self-reliant Christian father who decides to take an investigation into his daughter's disappearance into his own (bloody, torturous) hands, the latter a twitchy Masonic cop who's handling the case. The story is heavy on symbolism and light on verisimilitude, but at least the religious stuff matters here: Jackman is forced to choke on the Our Father's line about forgiving those who trespass against us, and a broken priest warns about a child killer waging a war against God. Director Denis Villeneuve knows his emotional landscapes as well as his suburban ones, but you can wrench a viewer's gut only so many times before fatigue sets in. And while all the threads get tied up, the resulting knot is anything but neat. With Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, and Paul Dano as a long-suffering simpleton. 2013 2013.

Matthew Lickona

This movie is not currently in theaters.


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